"In the context of learning, intrinsic motivation is motivation that stems not from external factors like grades and status, but rather from genuine interest and ambition. Like altruism, it assumes no reward. But – like altruism – it is difficult to corroborate. Even if Sally, your best student, completes the Extra Credit assignment out of pure enjoyment, it doesn’t mean she isn’t expecting external rewards like approval and attention.
Some psychologists go so far as to claim that intrinsic motivation doesn’t exist. Professor Steven Reiss at Ohio State University believes that human motivations can’t be forced into one category or the other and labeled as good or bad.
“We are taking many diverse human needs and motivations, putting them into just two categories, and then saying one type of motivation is better than another,” he says. “But there is no real evidence that intrinsic motivation even exists.”
The argument is that people should do something because they enjoy it, and that rewards only sabotage natural desire.
“There is no reason that money can’t be an effective motivator, or that grades can’t motivate students in school,” he says. “It’s all a matter of individual differences. Different people are motivated in different ways.”
The Framework presents a holistic view of 21st century teaching and learning that combines a discrete focus on 21st century student outcomes (a blending of specific skills, content knowledge, expertise and literacies) with innovative support systems to help students master the multi-dimensional abilities required of them in the 21st century.
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